Every person who undertakes a course of action at a serious crime scene must first consider what risks may exists.
The initial police responders primary functions include (3 things)?
- Attending the scene at an early stage
- Taking control of the situation
- Coordinating tasks
While most offences of homicide are identified as a result of a body being found or an offender making admissions, some incidents notified to the police are not initially identifiable as a homicide.
Such instances may include?
- Report of a missing person
- Report of an abduction
- Hit and run
- Drug related deaths
- Fatal fire
What are the initial responsibilities/actions of first responding police?
Victim - identify and locate
Appreciation - make an initial appreciation of the incident. Assess personal risk and then preserve the lives of others
Witnesses - Locate and contain
Scene - preserve the scene
Exhibits - Note evidence and preserve any that would otherwise be lost or destroyed
Ingredients - Consider if each element has been fulfilled
Powers - Consider what powers are available and whether it is necessary to execute them.
Offenders - Identify and apprehend suspects
What is the definition of an appreciation?
An appreciation is a proven method of problem solving. The process follows a series of set steps to ensure optimum course of action is decided upon. It considers all appropriate factors and weights the benefits and risks of all alternative solutions, allowing sound decision to be taken. An appreciation is an ongoing process which involves continually thinking through each new piece of information as it is uncovered
What are the steps to follow when conducting an appreciation? AFCOP
Aim - short statement which demonstrates a single objective.
Factors - is any circumstance or fact that could possible have an effect on the manner in which you will achieve your desired outcome
Courses open - possible ways the aim could be achieved bearing in mind the factors considered.
Plan - is a proposed course of action designed to put the selected course of action into action in order to achieve the aim
Going to the scene - Adopting an investigative mentality
No matter what the circumstances of a death are, Police’s purpose is always to investigate thoroughly and gather sufficient evidence to satisfactorily explain in the circumstances of the death.
At the scene - Subject to the appreciation of risks - Define Reconnaissance
a reconnaissance should be conducted to establish who is present at the scene. This may include other injured people or a hidden offender.
The first priority will always be to ensure the safety of the attending police members.
Establishing the victims medical status.
This falls into one of three categories - name them?
- Alive and uninjured
- Alive but injured
- Shows no sign of life
What are the 11 steps to take re a victim at hospital?
- Obtain medical opinion as to the victim’s current medical condition
- Seized the victims clothing/possessions as evidence
- Establish the victim’s ID
- Obtain a pre-transfusion blood sample using a police toxicology kit.
- Seize the discard bandages used to cover GSW and record the position on the victim where each bandage was applied
- Arrange firearms residue samples to be taken
- Note and photograph injuries
- Arrange DNA swabs to be taken from the victim’s skin relevant to the circumstances of the case
- obtain details of any people that visit/contact the victim
- consider a scoping interview using TEDS questions. If victim is likely to die consider recording an immediate statement, whether the victim can sign it or not. If victim subsequently dies statement may be admitted as hearsay under section 18(1) of the Evidence Act 2006. The court must be satisfied that the statement and the person making the statement are reliable as held in section 16(1) of the Evidence Act 2006:
- the nature of the statement
- the contents of the statement
- the circumstances relating to the making of the statement
- circumstances relating to the veracity of the person and
- circumstances relating to the accuracy of the observation of the person
- conduct a prelim interview with emergency staff who treated the victim using TEDS questions.
What are the 13 steps to follow if you discover a body showing no signs of life?
- Consider calling ambulance and resuscitation if appropriate.
- remain with the body until relieved by CIB or supervisor
- arrange a doctor to pronounce life extinct, unless death is obvious.
- Treat the victim as a scene within a scene
- Instruct medical staff to leave clothes on the body
- if medical treatment has been given then request the connecting tubes, needles, bandages are left in situ
- If possible conduct scoping interview with medical staff that treated the victim
- Ascertain if the victim spoke to anyone before death
- Record body position, lividity and obvious injuries
- Objectively record everything using all sensors
- record all exhibits
- sketch a plan including the position of the body and position of exhibits
- Provide full information to OC investigation at early stage.
Initial action to preserve a scene
Police who arrive at the scene first should follow these steps.
- Consider if initial photographs of the scene and person present are necessary
- Record the integrity of the crime scene by establishing crime scene logs, complete a sketch of the scene, make an accurate record of the facts and report them to the OC investigation at an early stage.
Identify - consider possible approach paths and establish a “CAP” for all movements into and out of the scene using a path which avoids any route possible taken by the suspect.
Secure - Establish cordon parameters using police emergency tape, arrange crime scene logs, prevent unauthorized person from entering or leaving the scene.
- Preserve - Record any movements/action taken in the scene. Be prepared to take immediate action to preserve evidence that my be CADD.
What is the definition of a crime scene log?
A crime scene log records details, times and purpose of all person who enter the crime scene, as well as any other activity in an around the crime scene which may be relevant to the case.
What is the purpose of a scene guard and a log maintained by that person?
- Contamination issues are managed
- intelligence opportunities are maximized
- integrity of evidence or potential evidence is secured
- there is no unauthorized entry into the scene
What are the duties of a scene guard?
- Control and record movements
- Avoid disturbance and protect scene
- Record details in crime scene log
- Brief replacement and others entering
- Secure and protect scene
What are the 8 steps to follow re witnesses at a scene?
- Obtain full details
- assemble people in clear area
- isolate witnesses to prevent contamination or collusion
- identify witnesses and conduct a scoping interview
- Establish whether any person have left the area
- establish cell phone numbers for witnesses
- Record reg plates of vehicle nearby
- Seize any CCTV footage relevant to the vicinity.
What are the 12 steps to follow for suspects at the scene?
- Separate from other person at scene
- Assess condition of suspect ie mental, injured, intoxicated, drug impaired or special condition
- As soon as possible remove the suspect from the scene by consent or with lawful justification
- If suspect refused consider arrest and what the most appropriate offence will be.
- To prevent cross contamination use officers who have not been into the scene.
- advise the suspect of bill of rights
- consider what powers are available re search and surveillance search for a search of suspect, vehicle, or place.
- consider searching the area of they have traveled or were found in for evidence discarded.
- Note the suspects behaviour and appearance.
- record everything the suspect says and consider a prelim interview.
- Where possible interview to be conducted by way of video
- brief the OC of the investigation and highlight anything significant.
What are the responsibilities of OC Body?
- Record what actions have been taken in respect of the body
- ensure death has been certified by doctor
- completed sudden death procedures
- establish if body has been moved
- ensure body is photographed in situ consider video
- maintain security and continuity of the body, samples and exhibits from the scene to the PM examination
- obtain medical records for pathologist
- authority to transport the body to mortuary only comes from OC investigation
- note and record observations relating to the body
- authority to ID body comes from OC investigation
- consult the pathologist re the benefits of conducting X-ray, CT scans etc
- ensure all cultural responsibilities have been addressed
- attend the debrief of the pathologist and record findings
- secure and guard the body, samples, exhibits with dignity and respect.
- attend the PM with OC investigation > ensure police photographer attends > preserve evidence from the body > record, label and secure all samples and exhibits > arrange for finger prints to be taken
It is not uncommon for movement of the body to have occurred. Where the body has been disturbed?
- do not attempt to restore the scene to its original unchanged condition
- make inquiries to enable the original unchanged scene to be subsequently reconstructed and photographed if required.
What are some circumstances where it is advisable to take samples from a body at the scene?
Where evidence would be lost or contaminated such as:
- larvae and insects
- potential fingerprint evidence from the skin
- DNA swabs
- Extraneous items such as hair, fibres, glass etc
- firearm residue
What are the 11 steps to follow for removing a body from the scene?
- record position of body by way of sketch or photographs
- Consult with OC Scene re marking the position of the body before moving it
- Record all details of the position of the body >limbs >wounds and clothing > direction of any trails of blood > lividity > extent of rigor mortis
- consider health risks that may be present by handling the body
- Cover hands, feet and head with paper bag, secured with tape. consideration to be given re the use of a plastic bag if there are any open wounds that may shed blood.
- ensure clothing on body is not contaminated
- wrap the body in a plastic sheet and place into body bag
- carefully search underneath where the body lay
- retain exhibits, sheets, bags, and other materials used to transport the body.
- Obtain approval from the OC investigation to removed the body from the scene.
- When directed by OC investigation arrange undertaker to removed body to mortuary. Ensure the security and continuity of the body is maintained.
What are some factors to consider - Appreciation prior to post mortem
- ID of the body at the mortuary
- authority from coroner to conduct PM
- Consultation with pathologist
- safe custody of exhibits
- any specific examination methods or samples to be take based on circumstances known
- appropriate resources for PM
- Cultural considerations
What is the primary role of the OC body at a post mortem examination?
Is to observe, document, and deal with exhibits associated with the body, in a structured and methodical manner.
What is the purpose of a post mortem?
- determine the mode and time of death
- establish how injuries or events may have contributed to the victim’s death
- establish approximate height and stature of the suspect
- determine the nature and size of weapons used
- provide areas of interest for subsequent interviews of witnesses and suspect
- ID victim if identity not yet known
- negate possible defenses
Who may attend a post mortem?
- doctor who treated the deceased
- doctor representing the interest of the suspect
Authority from coroner is required if ESR or a Crown solicitor are to attend a PM
Name 6 pieces of equipment required for a PM
- MEK kit
- Toxicology kit
- Body labels
- POL 47
- Firearms residue kit
- exhibit series numbers and appropriate exhibit kit
What are 5 steps to take on arrival at the mortuary?
- Ensure staff don’ wash the body
- Ensure body is labelled and secured in the mortuary fridge
- retain key used to secure body
- ensure body remains in its present condition until PM
- arrange formal ID of the body
what are some methods used for the identification of bodies?
- Medical examination records
- Effects that are found on them (personal effects)
- Their fingerprints
- H - X
- Obtain dental records
- DNA profiling
- Skeletal facial reconstruction
What information can a pathologist and anthropologist identify through skeletal remains?
- Whether remains are actually bones
- Whether bones are human
- Age, gender, height, and race of that person
What is the general rule of thumb re police taking notes during a PM
OC body must not make any notes of discussions concerning the PM examination unless directed to do so by OC investigation.
What are some considerations around stripping the body?
Stripping of the body will only take place immediately before the PM, but most only be undertaken on the specific direction of the OC Investigation.
What are the 12 steps to follow re stripping a body?
- body must be stripped in presence of pathologist.
- remove body from the mortuary fridge and take to PM examination room
- remove body from body bag causing minimal disturbance
- take possession of the sheets, paper and body bags used to transport the body as exhibits
- direct police photographer to take photos of body before clothing is removed
- removed items of clothing from body. Avoid cutting clothing off. Search clothing pockets
- make an inventory of items found
- label each item of clothing and possession
- Seal in separate exhibit bag or container
- ensure cross contamination does not occurr between exhibits seized
- maintain continuity of body and exhibits seized
- consider placing a fine sieve in the mortuary table drain hole to collect trace evidence.
Id addition to photographs taken at the scene, the OC Body must ensure the photographer takes sufficient photographs of:
- the body before it is stripped
- the body after it is stripped
- close up of any wounds, marks, internal injuries and unusual features
What are the responsibilities of OC Body when it comes to exhibits found on the body?
The OC Body is responsible for recording, labelling, packaging, and sealing all exhibits relating to the body, including samples taken during the PM.
The OC Body must hand all exhibits to OC Exhibts in order to maintain the chain of custody. they should also provide the OC Exhibits with
> PM scene exhibit schedule
> copy of OC Body notebook entries
> formal statment
What are the three key elements to a homicide
What is the role of a family liaison officer?
The role of a family officer involves the day to day management or the partnership between the family of the deceased and the police investigation. The primary function of a FLO is that of an investigator and not a support person. However in performing this role the FLO must also support and address the needs of the family.
What is a family liaison plan?
The plan should consider:
- complaints made by the family and the actions to resolve the issues raised
- assessing the most appropriate methods of conducting interviews with the family, including the use of specialist interviewers
- selection of the FLO and criteria employed for the selection
- liaison with victim support and other services
- information to be released to and withheld from the family
- complaints made by the family and the actions to resolve the issues raised
- exit plan for the FLO
What is the term “family”?
- includes partners, parents, siblings, children, guardians, whanau, and any others who have had a direct and close relationship with the victim.
- includes chosen family
- should reflect the victim’s culture and lifestyle
What are the cultural aspects that a FLO should consider?
The FLO should identify the cultural origins of the victims family and ensure they are familiar with relevant cultural beliefs and protocols, to enhance relations with the family and to contribute to the victim profile.
Action on appointment , before meeting the family, the FLO must?
- liaise closely with OC investigation re parameters of the investigation
- familiarize themselves with the investigation
- familiarize themselves with the inquiry.
- familiarize themselves with the dynamics of the family
- Establish what contact the family have had with police
- Establish what information has been given to the family
- Establish what information is already in the public domain.
What are some considerations around VIS?
victims should be given the opportunity to make a VIS as soon as possible.
The statement should be no older that 28 days at the time of sentencing.
What action needs to be taken by a FLO when an offender has been arrested with the family?
- Inform them of the right to be on the VNR POL1065
- obtain their view on bail
- inform the family of charges laid, court hearings, and release on bail.
- details of bail conditions.
- advise of any application made to suppress name
What is the purpose of a reconnaissance regarding an area canvas?
OC investigation/canvas/suspects should attend the general scene as soon as possible to make a reconnaissance of the area and conduct an appreciation and set the parameters and objectives of the canvass.
What consideration should be given re the timing of an area canvas?
- In some cases conduct area canvas at the same time the offence took place
- an initial area canvas will be conducted when police first attend the incident.
What are some considerations around risk assessments re an area canvas?
Once the location parameters are set, establish whether there are people or events in the area that staff should be aware of, this may include:
- violent offenders
- persons wanted by the police for other crimes or warrants
- local incidents or issues
The OC area canvas should seek to obtain suitable street……?
maps, aerial photographs, geological information and other applicable references.
How does the OC Area Canvas monitor the progress of the phase?
a master record should be continually maintained and updated showing which addresses have been visited, which occupants interviewed, the documentation completed, and any relevant comments made
What are the options are available to the area canvas phase
- use of media
- poster campaign
- mail drop
- high profile presence
At the conclusion of the area canvas phase the OC must submit a report to OC investigation.
Outline what the report should include
- a summary of all action taken
- any significant findings
- outline any action taken that was outside the original phase strategy.
What action should be taken with the informant?
Police who have first contact with the informant should be debriefed and a full record made of their account. This record could become crucial if the informant is later identified as a suspect.
What considerations must be given to a witnesses located a scene?
Some witnesses may have been so proximate to events that it is likely evidence was transferred to the witness, from the victim, suspect, or the scene itself.
Before a witness is interviewed a plan must be prepared to preserve and record all physical evidence from the witness including, DNA, fingerprints, clothes, footwear, fibers etc.
What are some of the benefits of conducting a prelim interview with witnesses of serious crime?
On some occasions it may be necessary to conduct a prompt prelim interview with a witness who possess information or material that is likely to rapidly progress the investigation and may lead to:
- prevention of the commission of other offences
- recovery of evidence or information relevant to the offence
- early identification or arrest of a suspect
- prevention of imminent disposal or destruction of evidence connected to the investigation.
The appointment of an appropriate witness interview is an important step.
What factors should be considered when making this decision?
- The level of training the interviewer has, consideration to be given to a L3 specialist interviewer.
- The experience of the interviewer in major investigations and any additional skills they may possess which may be an advantage in the circumstances
- the suitability of the officer to undertake the interview. ie will they encourage rapport with the offender, their experience, welfare issues
What are the different roles and responsibilities police have re Witnesses
- Ensures regular contact with family and provide update re investigation and court proceedings
OC Witnesses & Investigation
- Maintain contact with witnesses. Ensure summons are served and available to appear in court.
- Ensure witnesses are fully briefed re court proceedings.
- Eliminate witnesses intimidation by maintaining contact with witnesses. Will be more likely to become aware of any threats or intimidation and from there will be able to take appropriate action.
- For the sake of simplicity, exhibits should be produced before witnesses give evidence. This enables them to refer to the appropriate exhibits.
- If media interest is anticipated consider advising the witness and the family of the potential consequences of discussing evidence with journalists.
- interpreting services must be engaged if required
- Witness control ensures the witnesses do not contact jurors, discuss case in public areas, discuss case with witnesses after they have given evidence.
- Refreshing memory. At court request the witness refresh their memory by reading any previous statements or interview transcripts.
- Advise 2IC of any witnesses seeking name suppression so that these details can be passed onto the crown.
Alibi witnesses notified under section 22 of the Criminal Disclosure Act 2008 must only be interviewed under the direction of the Crown solicitor- the investigator must?
- make inquiries to determine the veracity of the alibi.
- conduct inquired as directed by the OC investigation and the Cown solicitor
- Fwd results to crown solicitor.
What is the purpose of an OC suspects team?
- Profile suspects and POI to establish their involvement in the offence or to eliminate them from the inquiry.
- obtain info about suspect and POI’s identified by the investigation.
- seek evidence to cover all ingredients of the offence
- Establish a basis for further investigation
- mitigate and deal with possible defenses that may be raised.
How do police determine if a person will be given the status of a suspect?
Responsibility for determining this rests with the OC Investigation. This will be done in consultation with OC Suspects.
Briefing the suspect team.
This first duty of OC Suspects is to brief their team.
Their initial briefing should include?
- Brief them of the circumstances of the offence including an analysis of the scene and witness evidence
- relay details and descriptions of suspect provided by witnesses.
- Identities of any POI’s and any suspect known.
- MO or crime signature that has been established
What investigation priorities need to be established re suspects?
Aspects that might influence the setting of priorities are the relative weight of evidence against a person or the likelihood of their leaving the area. Suspects must be investigated in order of priority.
Providing briefings and debriefings - Suspects
OC suspects must regularly debrief their team members on the inquiry they have conducted and the results of these inquiries so that they can maintain a constant flow of information at conferences - priority information must be brought to the attention of OC investigation.
What are some possible ways of identifying suspects?
- area canvas
- Police notings
- DNA samples
- Witness evidence
What are some considerations around cross contamination?
Any potential for cross contamination must be eliminated by conducting an appreciation.
Where more than one suspect is involved an appreciation must be made regarding which staff are assigned to seize clothing from suspects.
It is vitally important officers involved are fully aware of cross contamination issues and where possible, separate officers should be assigned to each suspects.
Medical examination re suspects
The OC suspects will arrange for a Police doctor to examine the suspect who will record?
- Details of any injuries ie scratches or bruises
- obtain swabs of suspects hands or relevant area
- condition of the suspect in their professional opinion.
- take samples using s MEK such as >blood >saliva > head hair >pubic and body hair > fingernail scrapings > swabbing of suspects hands > Provide specialist opinion re condition of the suspect > Record any comments made by the suspect about the offence or the cause of the injuries
What consideration need to be given re suspect Psychiatric evidence?
police must seek an order for the suspect to undergo a psychiatric assessment if the defence raise the issue of the suspects state of mind at the time the offence was committed or at the time they are to stand trial.
Where a court order is made to remand the suspect a report must be submitted to the court registrar describing :
> circumstances of arrest
> summary of offence
> suspect criminal history
>suspects mental history
> symptoms and duration of the suspects mental illness if applicable.
What are some considerations around suspects providing alibi’s?
When ever an alibi is put forward by an offender, it is the responsibility of the OC suspects to
- make thorough inquiries to determine the veracity of the alibi
- to fully report the result of these inquiries to the Crown Solicitor via the 2IC.
What are the duties of a file manager?
- assist with establishing and maintaining the investigation headquarters
- manage the electronic and physical file
- support 2IC by reading documents and highlighting important information.
- support 2IC with identifying and recording evidential material
- complete synopsis of documents received.
- ensure flow of information throughout investigation
- assist with preparation of prosecution file.
What are the file managers responsibilities re setting up the investigation headquarters?
The file manager must establish the requirements for the investigation headquarters including:
> office support staff > find transport > find location > ICT requirements > communications > equipment
What are the key responsibilities of a disclosure manager?
- ensure all relevant discoverable documents are provided to defence
- ensure all non discoverable document have been identified and the defence have been advised
- continually assess the risk to ensure that non-discoverable material is identified and not disclosed
- continually review to ensure the ongoing lawful justification to withhold exists for each document withheld
- ensure that robust audit-able systems are employed to record disclosure decisions and actions
- manage disclosure time frames within the provisions of the Act or directed by the Courts
- Retain and file correspondence with the defence counsel, both incoming and outgoing
- Create a brief record in NIA of the fact initial disclosure was delivered.
File managers functions:
- maintain physical/electronic file
- assist with preparation of the prosecution file
- n = X
- assist with establishing and maintaining the investigation headquaters
- give synopsis of all documents
- ensure flow of information throughout investigation
- support 2IC with reading documentation and identifying important information/
Disclosure - key responsibilities
Manage disclosure time frames
Ensure all relevant material is provided to defence
Record disclosure deliveries and actions
Ensure all non-discloseable material is identified and withheld from the defence.
What are the benefits of conducting an appreciation?
- By managing risk
- Eliminates duplication
- Nothing will be over looked
- Effective use of resources
- Finds the most optimum course of action
- Increases chance of success
- To establish a sequence of steps to follow
OC exhibits should be suitably qualified and have experience in?
- mass exhibit handling
- forensic principles
- managing contamination and cross contamination issues
- knowledge for packaging and handling evidence
In smaller investigation OC exhibits may also conduct an appreciation of every exhibit to establish the?
- evidential value of each exhibit
- the investigative opportunities presented by each exhibit
- further inquiries that are needed
In the first instance, OC Exhibits must only accept an exhibit if…..
- if the label contains exhibit number, operation name, where it was located, time it was located and who located it.
- the property is correctly packaged and sealed, and exhibit label is clearly visible.
- the appropriate action has been taken ie the drying of blood stained clothing
What is the purpose of a forensic strategy meeting?
Are held to determine which exhibit other forensic examinations are required and the priority of those examinations.
What is the chain of custody?
The chain of custody includes every individual who has had custody of the exhibit, from the time it was first discovered until the time it is produced in court
How should communications be conducted between the defence regarding disclosure?
All communications should be conducted through the 2IC investigation or crown if engaged.
What considerations are to be given re a suspect interview?
- Discuss with OC investigation re selection of interviewer
- Ensure they have a detailed interview plan
- Determine the ingredients that required to be covered off.
- ensure the interview is fully briefed
During a suspect interview OC suspects must…..
ensure interview is conducted in accordance with the investigative interviewing suspect guide
The interview is monitored by supervisor or experienced detective
seek explanation from suspect re any exhibits found
What are the main objectives of conducting an area canavas?
- Identify offender
- identify and locate evidence
- identify witnesses
- gather information
How are the parameters set for an area canvas?
premises withing line of sight of scenes
location where victim was last seen alive
location frequented by victim
location where victims, offenders and witness have been
What must two things must the court be satisfied of when ruling a statement made by victim, prior to ding, as admissible?
that the content of the statement and the person making that statement are reliable.
What are the steps to take re initial action to preserve a scene?
- common approach path
- what is happening at the scene, who is there
- Establish the crime scene itself
- where necessary invoke section 116 S and S Act to secure scene
- remove persons from the scene
Arrange crime scene logs
- record any action taken in the scene
- be prepared to take immediate action to preserve evidence
- Consider using stepping plates
- Establish crime scene logs
- Photograph the scene
- Make accurate record of the facts
What to brief OC Investigation re the initial action at a scene
- What has occurred
- What action has been taken
- What has not been done
- What needs to be done